WASHINGTON – In a sign that the electric vehicle market is maturing, a key industry group has taken the first pass at an EV standards roadmap that will tackle technical issues such as developing an interoperable charging infrastructure for emerging plug-in EVs.
Version 1.0 of the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) roadmap for EV standards seeks to identify and evaluate existing rules of the road for plug-in EVs and determine where there are gaps in technical specs. ANSI is working with several auto makers along with a host of cleantech companies and utilities focusing on smart grid deployment. Among the automotive electronics specialists participating in the EV standards effort are ST Microelectronics and Sony Electronics. Qualcomm is also listed as a participant.
ANSI said it hopes to enlist more battery manufacturers along with large municipal and commercial fleet owners that are expected to boost adoption of plug-in EVs. So far, battery makers Magna E-Car, Delphi and Siemens have signed on to the standards effort.
Jim McCabe, ANSI’s senior director for standards facilitation, said the group hopes to capitalize on the momentum generated by President Obama’s goal of 1 million EVs on the road by 2015. The standards roadmap represents an attempt to explore technical issues like an EV charging infrastructure “at a deeper dive level,” McCabe said.
While maintaining the EV roadmap as a “living document” that reflects technology advances, McCabe said he expects a full revision of the roadmap to be issued in the next 12 to 18 months. ANSI hopes to keep pace with technology development as a way to promote innovation in EV development, he added.
In the interim, the group wants to work with European partners to coordinate EV, charging station and others standards to ensure greater interoperability and safety. One goal would be to ensure that a variety of plug-in electric vehicle models could use any recharging station.
ANSI’s effort also includes the IEEE, the National Institute for Standards & Technology and other federal agencies like the Energy Department, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and several national laboratories. McCabe said the group also hopes to enlist state and local governments in standards development.
The Energy Department, which is spearheading related efforts like battery technology development, is also assisting the standards effort with demonstration projects and technical expertise.
While ANSI seeks to broaden participation in its plug-in EV standards effort, McCabe said it is “looking forward to hearing back from stakeholders” about the roadmap. Along with addressing safety and interoperability issues, the standards effort will seek ways to reduce the overall cost of EVs. High sticker prices for first-generation plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles, for example, have limited sales.
Another barrier to consumer acceptance has been EVs’ relative lack of performance compared to conventional vehicles power by internal combustion engines. “The ability to extend the driving range of EVs on a single battery charge without the need for range extension is largely due to energy storage capabilities [batteries] and a function of technology development,” ANSI said in a preamble to the roadmap.
Coordination on standards development is generally viewed as a key step in the transition from technology development to deployment. One reason is that standards reduce market uncertainty, thereby encouraging manufactures to invest in emerging markets. Experts point to the explosion of IT markets after standards were established as an example.
Coordinating to replace proprietary specs with technical standards will provide greater certainty in emerging cleantech markets, observers said. The ANSI effort “is good for the overall transition to EVs,” said a spokesman for Better Place, a cleantech group that is promoting the transition to electric vehicle technology.
Click here to see Version 1 of ANSI's EV standards roadmap.